Invisible Children, makers of KONY 2012 and Beyond KONY, provided intelligence to Uganda’s security apparatus that led to the arrests of several opponents of the regime, according to leaked U.S. embassy cables and reported by Milton Allimadi of Black Star News. Since 2008 the San Diego-based nonprofit organisation has acted in concert with Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni’s regime by coordinating public relations campaigns to promote a military solution against the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA) and its leader Joseph Kony.
From Black Star News:
Kony2012 was viewed more than 100 million times; yet it now turns out that Invisible Children may have duped a global audience by hiding the fact that it’s been working closely with the Museveni regime all along, to the extent that it even shared intelligence leading to arrests of perceived or alleged regime opponents.
The cables show that Invisible Children has also kept in touch with U.S. administrations dating back to George W. Bush.
CEO Ben Keesey met with ambassador Stephen Browning on August 10, 2007, “… to update the Ambassador on their activities and to describe their efforts to provide to their audiences timely information on conditions in northern Uganda.”
In a memo dated June 11, 2009, U.S. political affairs officer Kathleen FitzGibbon discusses claims by the Museveni regime of a new rebellion in northern Uganda and the subsequent arrests of low level participants.
The latest plot was exposed when the Government received a tip from the U.S. non-governmental organisation (NGO) Invisible Children regarding the location of Patrick Komekech. He was wanted by the security services for impersonating LRA leaders to extort money from government officials, NGOs, and Acholi leaders. Komekech is purportedly a former child soldier abducted by the LRA. Invisible Children had featured him in its documentaries. Invisible Children reported that Komekech had been in Nairobi and had recently reappeared in Gulu, where he was staying with the NGO. Security organisations jumped on the tip and immediately arrested Komekech on March 5.
The Ugandan military, after obtaining the names of other suspects from Komakech, conducted sweeps and arrested many others (many of whom later declared their innocence even after being tortured), according to Uganda media reports and reported by Black Star.
Invisible Children’s current alliance with Ugandan authorities began after a disastrous military assault on the LRA — which employed U.S. fuelled helicopters in addition to U.S. army logistical support and intelligence — that failed to neutralize Joseph Kony as more than a thousand Congolese civilians were slaughtered in reprisal attacks.
From Black Star News:
Hoping to reverse the negative publicity, the Museveni regime, with U.S. knowledge, teamed up with Congo to launch a public relations blitz to influence journalists, human rights organisations and other governments. Invisible Children played a role in the campaign, culminating with Kony2012.
Invisible Children also built support for military operations against the LRA by bringing Ugandan officials and politicians to Washington to meet with lawmakers as well as forming partnerships with lobbying organisations (such as Resolve Uganda and the centre for American Progress’ Enough Project) that have promoted U.S. military penetration in Africa.
Black Star News notes that an LRA Disarmament bill was approved by Congress and signed into law by President Obama in May 2010, paving the way for deployment of the U.S. military in Uganda in October 2011.
Gen. Museveni’s army was found liable for war crimes in the Congo by the International Court of Justice in 2005, but won’t be prosecuted as long as it has U.S. support.
In return Museveni has contributed thousands of Ugandan soldiers for the U.S.-backed mission to stabilise Somalia (which Washington fears will become a haven for Al Qaeda).
From Black Star News:
At the same time, the U.S. also gets to maintain and expand its military presence in the oil and resource rich regions of Uganda, South Sudan, Congo and Central Africa. In this way, the U.S. is building leverage to check China’s aggressive search for energy in the same region. The government of Sudan now must also think twice before it dares to launch a full-scale invasion of U.S.-backed, oil-rich, South Sudan.
It’s not known if Invisible Children’s intelligence relationship with the Museveni regime continues, but Allimadi noted that some legal experts think Invisible Children may be exposed to liability from the people arrested as a result of the tip to Ugandan authorities.
NOW WATCH: Briefing videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.